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HAMC nets $1.47M operating loss

By Staff | Oct 28, 2016

Heart of America Medical Center CEO Patrick Branco speaks to members of the Good Samaritan Hospital Association board Monday evening.

Large expenses have triggered another year of losses in operating income for the Heart of America Medical Center.

At an annual meeting of the Good Samaritan Hospital Association on Monday evening, HAMC Chief Financial Officer Amanda Loughman informed the board via video that the hospital incurred a $1.47 million loss in operating income for fiscal year 2016.

Loughman informed the board that the hospital lost $120,000 more than fiscal year 2015, which was at an operating loss of about $1.35 million. Loughman said the losses could be attributed to increases in benefits for employees working at least 48 hours per pay period and to expenses in contract labor for nursing. Loughman said the hospital switched companies in the hopes of reducing overtime, holiday and short notice expenses and hoped to expand daycare for parents.

Loughman said the hospital uses contract labor to combat difficulties with retention and recruitment.

“We’re not the only hospital dealing with this problem,” Loughman said.

In fiscal year 2016 the hospital saw over $20.2 million in patient and resident service revenue after bad debt was subtracted and over $1.8 million in other operating income, while Haaland Estates saw over $2 million in patient and resident service revenue and nearly $56,500 in other operating income for a total of nearly $24.2 million in total revenue. The hospital incurred over $23.4 million in expenses, and Haaland Estates incurred nearly $2.2 million. Total expenses were over $25.6 million for both divisions.

Loughman said operating income in the future could hopefully trend upward with the addition of the new cancer care suite. Pharmacist Erik Christenson said that once the N.D. Department of Health approves the architect’s contract and plans, the center’s construction could be put up for bid. The proposed center will have two infusion chairs and a pharmacy for “hazardous medications.” Once the center is completed, a late spring or early summer opening is projected.

A meeting attendee asked about rumors of a possible dialysis unit and whether the hospital was pursuing it. HAMC CEO Patrick Branco said there is a need in the community, but the unit would need more dialysis-trained nurses, a qualified vascular surgeon on-call, a clinically-pure water system and a minimum of 12 patients on an ongoing basis.

“It is a numbers game,” Branco said. “It’s not about revenue, it’s about being able to do it safely.”

(sub.) Board member elections

Three new members were elected and one member was re-elected to serve three-year terms on the GSHA board.

But discussion arose regarding who would represent the Rolette-Wolford area.

Will Griffin, of Rugby, was chosen and elected to serve in the Rolette-Wolford representative’s seat. He replaces member and Chairman Jon Nelson, who chose not to seek re-election. Griffin was chosen in consideration of his time as head of the Bethany and Wolford Lutheran Church board.

The move was considered due to no Rolette and Wolford churches nominating a member to serve on the board churches are allowed to nominate a member to fill vacancies and no individuals wanting to commit. Board member John McClintock, Jr., asked what the GSHA bylaws say on membership. Branco said the bylaws broadly define the phrase “from there” and he would rather not see a vacant seat, as a similar situation occurred in Maddock with member Pat Tracy not seeking re-election and no nominee to replace him.

Dr. Ron Skipper asked if there was precedent for a person representing an area by association. Bret McAtee had been a member of the board who lived in Rugby yet represented Dunseith due to his employment with Benchmark Electronics.

Rev. Mike Pretzer questioned whether a person from the Wolford-Rolette area would be able to get on the board in the next three years with Griffin in that spot. Steve Dockter questioned whether if that were the case then could Griffin be shuffled to a Rugby position on the board. Nelson said he did not know the likelihood of such a thing happening. Branco said the bylaws suggest that the board be no bigger than 15 members and that at the one- or two-year mark the board could have latitude to fill the position should it ever be vacated or create an additional at-large member.

“I’m slightly uncomfortable with it,” Pretzer said.

Dockter said that he didn’t feel anyone from the Wolford-Rolette area was being left out of being on the board.

“Every organization struggles [with] finding someone to serve on boards,” Dockter said. “If they want[ed] to be here, they could’ve been here.”

Kris Thiel and Bonita Lindseth were elected for Rugby’s seats on the board. Lindseth was previously elected in 2013.

Annette Leier was elected to sit in the Balta/Orrin area seat. She replaces Mark Schaan, who chose not to run for re-election.

No new member was elected at the time for the Maddock area seat.

(sub.) Other actions

– Care Center Chief Nursing Officer Julie Baustad informed the board of changes in nursing programs, including the expansion of the CNO’s role to include hospice, Johnson’s Clinic, social services and acute care in addition to the care center; new bath systems and activity staff at the care center; and possible restorative aid programs.

– Outgoing board members Nelson, Tracy and Schaan were recognized for their years of service.

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